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A heritage train and cycleway combination would be an effective pairing, the Legislative Council Inquiry into the North-East Rail Corridor has heard.
At a hearing in Hobart on Monday, Bicycle Network chief executive Craig Richards said mixed use of the rail corridor would be "terribly effective".
Mr Richards said the combination of cycleways and scenic train routes were both popular and successful across Europe.
Bicycle Network Tasmania public affairs adviser Alison Hetherington said there were many misconceptions about who could use the proposed cycleway.
"Rail trails are all about easy riding," Ms Hetherington said.
Ms Hetherington said there was also a misconception that cyclists would not inject money into the economy, citing a New Zealand study of rail trails which found the average cycling tourist injects $200 a day into the area.
Mr Richards said there was no rail trail of any significant length in Tasmania.
"Riding a 5 kilometre trail is not going to draw a lot of people," Mr Richards said.
"This is a great opportunity to complete a rail trail in an accessible area. We'll get an influx of tourism from the mainland."
The state government's proposed compromise solution, with sections of heritage rail and of a bike path (marked as the rail trail).
North East Rail Trail Inc. vice president Mike Scott said adding another heritage train in Tasmania would dilute the market, whereas the addition of the rail trail would boost the state's tourism portfolio.
"We know Tasmania already has several heritage rail options - it does not have a long rail trail," he said.
Mr Scott said the cycleway would improve accessibility, encourage multi-day trips and would enhance the community through increased property worth and improved lifestyle values.
"There is genuine will in the broader community to have this rail trial developed," Mr Scott said.
"Our position is a rail trail from Launceston to Scottsdale remains the best option for this corridor."
This article first appeared on www.examiner.com.au
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